DEREK ROYDEN – The way sanctions have all too often been used for the past 30 years against weaker nations has been cruel and ineffective, mainly hurting ordinary people who have little control over those that rule them. Sanctions that work are a scalpel, not a broadaxe.
KATRINA VANDEN HEUVEL – The price for failing to hold the perpetrators of the Iraq War debacle accountable is that their worldview still dominates America’s national security establishment.
NORMAN SOLOMON – Vast quantities of lies from top U.S. government officials led up to the Iraq invasion. Now, marking its 20th anniversary, the same media outlets that eagerly boosted those lies are offering retrospectives. Don’t expect them to shed light on the most difficult truths, including their own complicity in pushing for war. What propelled the United States to start the war on Iraq in March 2003 were dynamics of media and politics that are still very much with us today.
STEPHEN ZUNES -As we approach the 20th anniversary of the fateful congressional vote authorizing the invasion of Iraq, many are questioning what would have happened had Congress refused to go along. There was widespread public opposition to going to war at the time.
DANNY SHAW – Vladimir Putin is considered a threat because he restored Russian sovereignty, erased the humiliation of the Boris Yeltsin era, and championed Russiaâ€™s national interests. But that is just what the U.S. elite could not tolerate.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Recognizing that the safety and well-being of the American people do not require sustaining a regional U.S. military command that fancies itself called upon to determine the fate of 560 million inhabitants in 21 different countries might just offer a path toward regaining sobriety. After all, recovery begins with taking that first step.
ANDREW COCKBURN – Sometimes the naked pursuit of self-interest is unabashed, and certain policies or war is pursued, but even when the real object of the exercise is camouflaged as â€œforeign policyâ€ or â€œstrategy,â€ no observer should ever lose sight of the most important question: Cui bono? Who benefits?
ANDREW BACEVICH – Deferred for far too long, Judgment Day may at long last have arrived for the national security state.
JACK MATLOCK – Did the U.S. â€œIntelligence Communityâ€ judge that Russia interfered in the 2016 presidential election?
Most commentators seem to think so, but this understanding does not hold up under careful analysis.
ANDREW BACEVICH – Hereâ€™s the strange thing for the self-proclaimed greatest power in history, the very one that, in this century, has been fighting a series of unending wars across significant parts of the planet: if you exclude Operation Urgent Fury, the triumphant invasion of the island Grenada in 1983, and Operation Just Cause, the largely unopposed invasion of Panama in 1989, Washingtonâ€™s last truly successful war ended 74 years ago in August 1945 with the dropping of two atomic bombs on Japanese cities. Every war of even modest significance since — and theyâ€™ve been piling up — from the Korean and Vietnam wars to the ones in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Libya, and elsewhere in this century (and the last as well, in the cases of Afghanistan and Iraq) has either ended badly (Vietnam) or not at all (see above).
JAMES CARDEN – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard has accused President Trump and Vice President Pence of protecting â€œal-Qaeda and other jihadist forces in Syria.â€
MICHAEL NAGLER – Nonviolence is spread out all around us, yet we so often fail to see how it can be used to stop some of todayâ€™s worst atrocities. Take school shootings, as just one example. Itâ€™s telling that the idea of arming teachers has been seriously debated in the media, while nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution remain largely unknown. Thatâ€™s why the recent film â€œFaith Under Fire: The Antoinette Tuff Storyâ€ is so unique. It tells the true story of Antoinette Tuff, an elementary school accountant in Decatur, Georgia, who prevented a mass shooting in 2013 by talking would-be killer Michael Hill into putting down his assault weapon.
KEVIN MARTIN – Effective negotiators build on any points of agreement the parties to a dispute have at the outset. So why not ditch the â€œnon-equivalencyâ€ argument and state the U.S.-South Korea war drills are on indefinite hiatus as long as North Korea continues to observe a moratorium on nuclear and missile testing? That would be solid footing on which to begin real diplomacy. South Korea isnâ€™t afraid to talk to the North, why is the U.S.? If Rex Tillerson canâ€™t do his job, the least he can do is support the North-South talks, and let Koreans make peace.
FINLAY LEWIS – They could caucus in a phone booth. They are known as â€œrealists,â€ and their default position on questions of foreign policy and national security is one of skepticism about the value of interventions abroad and of respect for privacy at home. In a debate largely being litigated within the ranks of the Republican Party on Capitol Hill, the realists donâ€™t have a prayer of prevailing in an up-or-down vote against the neoconservative wing of the party, proponents of an interventionist ethos to embed American values in lands far removed from domestic shores and traditions.
DAVID SWANSON – The geniuses running the U.S. military set up U.S. bases in Iraq at the sites of old chemical weapons piles, dug giant burn pits into the ground, and began burning the military’s trash — monumental quantities of trash, something like The Story of Stuff on steroids. They burned hundreds of tons of trash every day, including everything you can think of: oil, rubber, tires, treated wood, medicines, pesticides, asbestos, plastic, explosives, paint, human body parts, and . . . (wait for it) . . . nuclear, biological, and chemical decontamination materials.
PAUL VALE – The former top US Special Forces chief claimed on Sunday, November 29, that blinding emotion after the 9/11 attacks led the United States and its allies to take the wrong strategic decisions to counter al-Qaeda, calling the subsequent Iraq War a â€œhuge error.â€ The admission by Michael Flynn, made to German newspaper Der Spiegel, comes as British MPs prepare to vote on extending the UKâ€™s bombing campaign against the Islamic State into Syria following the massacre in Paris.
PAUL KRUGMAN – Surprise! It turns out that thereâ€™s something to be said for having the brother of a failed president make his own run for the White House. Thanks to Jeb Bush, we may finally have the frank discussion of the Iraq invasion we should have had a decade ago. But many influential people â€” not just Mr. Bush â€” would prefer that we not have that discussion. Thereâ€™s a palpable sense right now of the political and media elite trying to draw a line under the subject. Yes, the narrative goes, we now know that invading Iraq was a terrible mistake, and itâ€™s about time that everyone admits it. Now letâ€™s move on.
NORMAN SOLOMoN – A month after former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling was convicted on nine felony counts with circumstantial metadata, the zealous prosecution is now having potentially major consequences — casting doubt on the credibility of claims by the U.S. government that Iran has developed a nuclear weapons program.
RALPH LOPEZ – Becoming the first credentialed, well-known media insider to step forward and state publicly that he was secretly a â€œpropagandist,â€ an editor of a major German daily has said that he personally planted stories for the CIA. Saying he believes a medical condition gives him only a few years to live, and that he is filled with remorse, Dr. Udo Ulfkotte, the editor of Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, one of Germanyâ€™s largest newspapers, said in an interview that he accepted news stories written and given to him by the CIA and published them under his own name. Ulfkotte said the aim of much of the deception was to drive nations toward war. Dr. Ulfkotte says the corruption of journalists and major news outlets by the CIA is routine, accepted, and widespread in the western media, and that journalists who do not comply either cannot get jobs at any news organization, or find their careers cut short.
BERT SACKS – â€œThose Iraqis have been fighting each other for centuries,â€ a friend recently said to me. I have heard this mistaken view too often.
MICHAEL SCHWARTZ – Events in Iraq are headline news everywhere, and once again, there is no mention of the issue that underlies much of the violence: control of Iraqi oil. Instead, the media is flooded with debate about, horror over, and extensive analysis of a not-exactly-brand-new terrorist threat, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). There are, in addition, elaborate discussions about the possibility of a civil war that threatens both a new round of ethnic cleansing and the collapse of the embattled government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.
DAVID SWANSON – War gains support and acceptance from widespread belief in false information, and the accumulation of false information into generally false concepts or myths about war. This is good news, because it means we are not intractably divided by ideology or worldview. Rather, we will find more widespread agreement about war if we can just achieve more widespread awareness of accurate information.
LAWRENCE WITTNER — The offshore oil drilling catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico brought to us by BP has overshadowed its central role over the past century in fostering some other disastrous events.